Canada's Freeland returns to Washington for NAFTA talks

Donald Trump listens to the opening prayer during Air Force Technical Sergeant John Chapman's Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign minister, returned to Washington on Tuesday for talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Mexico is also expected to rejoin the talks at some point on Friday, allowing for three-way negotiations to resume after a two-month break.

A couple of weeks ago the White House announced a new NAFTA deal between the USA and Mexico, which they sent up to Congress for possible consideration.

Meanwhile, figures provided to CBC News show that Canada collected almost $300 million in July and August after Ottawa slapped USA imports with retaliatory tariffs.

Trudeau, facing elections in 2019, said on Sunday (June 10) that Canada "will not be pushed around", triggering a fierce attack from Trump and his advisers, on Tuesday (June 12).

"We're neighbours and neighbours help each other when they need help".

Various U.S. officials - including agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue and Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow - have stressed in recent days that the milk issue is integral to a trade deal.

The two sides have so far been unable to resolve key differences over USA access to the Canadian dairy market, a cultural exemption for Canada and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking at the Women in the World summit, was circumspect about the talks, saying only that he remains hopeful.


"Both sides did a lot of thinking over the weekend, so this was a very productive meeting".

Candian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland walks out of the U.S. Trade Representative's office to speak to journalists in Washington, U.S., August 28, 2018.

"Forget what you read about NAFTA negotiations and Twitter wars, that's not who we are", Craft told the gathered crowd as she thanked Canada - and Gander - for playing host in 2001 to countless stranded American air passengers.

Trudeau, whose federal Liberal government relies on support from Ontario and Quebec where most dairy farmers live, has said he will defend Canada's dairy industry, without giving details. Overall, he said, he believes Canada is handling the talks well.

US officials say time is running out to reach a deal that the current Congress can vote on. "We remain focused on what's in the interests of Canadians and what's in the interests of our workers and our country's economy".

A member of an influential Congressional panel - and a Donald Trump supporter - said in a Canadian interview that providing American dairy farmers with more access to the Canadian market may appease the president.

"We're just going to stay working constructively to get to that win, win, win that we know is there".

In 2016, after yielding greater market access under the European Union deal, Trudeau's government paid dairy farms and processors hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate and is expected to pay out again for the Pacific deal.

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